learn something new every day

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 17 03:15:14 UTC 2006

Aw, shucks! To paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, "You guys make posting fun!"


On 2/16/06, sagehen <sagehen at westelcom.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: learn something new every day
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >Thank you, Jon. FWIW, now that I've seen your analysis, "P" as "pee" =
> >"piss" strikes me as clearly transparent. ;-)
> >
> >Re "spook": that term was not used within the Agency. I heard it from
> >outsiders. Because the Agency was supposed to be secret, there was no
> >"collar brass" with a symbol for it. Instead, we wore collar brass
> >with the symbol for "not yet assigned to any particular kind of unit,"
> >otherwise worn only by basic-trainees. So, of course, we stuck out
> >like sore thumbs. As soon as non-Agency GI's saw us, they'd say, "Oh,
> >we know who you guys are. You're 'spooks'!" They were under the
> >impression that we monitored U.S. Army-internal communications for
> >breaches of security.
> >
> >Actually, my unit intercepted the radio-relayed telephonic
> >communications of the Red Army, the German Army, whether East or West,
> >and the East-Gernan police and translated them into English. Another
> >unit, about which we knew nothing, intercepted and read all snail-mail
> >commo between East Germany and West Germany. They sent weekly
> >summaries of their work to my unit. Of course, this does not preclude
> >the possibility that there was some unit of the Agency that did
> >monitor U.S. Army-internal commo. We had no need to know, so we
> >didn't.
> >
> >A while ago, someone wrote a letter to the editor of The Times that
> >discussed intel. What he had to say was pure ignorance. Intel
> >absolutely does not work the way that that guy thinks it does. Those
> >who say don't know. Those who know don't say. And when those frrom the
> >NSA or the CIA who know pretend to say, as long as their lips are
> >moving or their moving fingers write, they are LYING! E.g., any
> >official discussion of intel that may appear in the paper, such as the
> >NSA interception of e-mail. A secret agency really *is* secret,
> >whether it's the Gestapo, the KGB, or the NSA.
> >
> >The Army Security Agency has been defunct for about the past
> >quarter-century. Otherwise, I still would not be saying anything about
> >it.
> >
> >I guess that it's time that I get back on point. ;-)
> >
> >The official name of this job in the protocal of Military Occupation
> >Specialties was "voice-intercept operator." However, that was just a
> >cover name. Within the Agency, the job was actually known as
> >"scanning." The one doing it was known as a "scanner," as an "MG
> >scanner," or as a "Mercury-Grass scanner." All scanners were graduates
> >of the old U.S. Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey, CA,
> >now known as the "Defense Language Institute (West-Coast Branch)," The
> >concept of intercepting radio-relayed telephony and translating it in
> >real time was itself known as "Mercury Grass." Supposedly, the British
> >were the first to develop this concept and "Mercury Grass" was their
> >code name for it. Further deponent knoweth not.
> >
> >-Wilson
> >
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Er, are you by any chance, pulling a whatsit paradox thing here?  "All
> Cretans are liars.  I am a Cretan."
> AM
> ~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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